The economics of Russia’s ingenious upgrade technology shows how the U.S is seriously falling behind. The manner in which they are upgrading the T-90 into essentially a next generation series is an extremely smart move.
The same deal with the T-72BM3/T-72B4 and T-80BVM (and I can bet we’ll see a modernized T-80UM soon enough). Russia has been very successful in modernizing older Soviet equipment to high-tech levels using a fraction of price necessary for new equipment. And this applies not just to it’s land forces. The latest S-300V4 is actually superior to even S-400, while being cheaper and easier to maintain. Of course, when they decide to upgrade the S-400, it will be better that this variant, but the thing is that the pragmatic approach is creating the effect that Russian military is one of a superpower for a fraction of Pentagon’s costs.
With new developments in hypersonic missiles (mostly based on older Soviet models), Russia has completely nullified all of US technological advances in missile, railgun and laser technology. Lasers, which were supposed to be used as ABM systems and generally missile defenses are completely useless now, because in order to go through lower layers of atmosphere, Russian hypersonic missiles need to survive temperatures of over 2000 degrees Celsius, while maintaining hypersonic speed of over 11 000 km/h (in case of Avangard the astonishing 26 000 km/h with temperatures reaching unsurmountable 3000 degrees Celsius), keeping their guidance intact and even maneuvering.
The power output of future laser systems will not be able to create temperatures higher than 1000 degrees Celsius over a range of 10 km. In other words, even if, by some miracle, a Russian hypersonic missile is hit by a US laser anti-missile system, it won’t do anything, because the missile is already able to withstand much higher temperatures. All of these US research programs for developing various unproven futuristic looking weapons amount to a staggering sum of more than 3.5 trillion dollars spent over the last two decades, and much more in the future. However, all of these were nullified by a Russian hypersonic missiles program which cost around 40 billion dollars over a span of 20 years. That’s what you call cost-effectiveness.